Ceremonial Mace: A New Staple of TMCC Pride

Tip of Ceremonial Mace constructed by Kelly V. Oswald; colored in aluminum, brass, copper, and stainless steel.
Jared Libby

TMCC is excited to announce a monumental new addition to the Commencement 2023 proceedings: an exclusive mace that will serve as a beacon of our institution’s rich academic history and commitment to supporting student success. As it stands firm in the corridors of Lawlor Events Center, a sense of pride will fill students and faculty alike when they witness every detail of its structure, meticulously crafted to represent our time-honored traditions and treasured values. It marks the beginning of a spectacular inclusion in the ceremonies to come, showcasing individual ingenuity, personal growth, and our shared responsibilities as advocates of higher education.

Made of Steel

This labor of love was constructed by Kelly V. Oswald, Manufacturing Technologies Professor. As an artist, his technique is immersive and requires his full attention. This project flew under the radar so that Oswald’s concentration would be absolute, and after working faithfully for several weeks, his vision finally came to fruition.

It is a genuinely shimmering creation, gilded with the TMCC logo and adorned with symbolism rendering local, state, environmental, and educational qualities inherent to TMCC’s community. This humble monolith is brimming with metallic glory and coated with relatable concepts and retrospective elements which portray how far we’ve come.

Oswald thoroughly explained the meaning underneath the expansive imagery found within his design and is keen for others to notice its distinct features.

The mace was built from contrasting aluminum, brass, copper, and stainless steel, which infused the piece with strength and durability. The silver, gold, and copper colors are characteristic of Nevada’s extensive mining past and our moniker as “The Silver State.” Prominently featured in the framework is a spherical triple helix which signifies or implies motion, indicative of our collective journey as lifelong learners.

A lengthier view of the mace within its stand.

A lengthier view of the mace within its stand.

The thirteen vertical columns that make up the skeleton on which the helixes suspend are chosen from the thirteen banded ebony rods that form the staff of the Mace of the United States House of Representatives. They depict the original thirteen states and the virtues of life, liberty, and pursuing our dreams; beliefs we freely embrace and cherish.

There are twenty-five instances of the TMCC mountain logo, most distinctly at the heart of the mace. It’s centralized there to illustrate TMCC’s fundamental role as leaders, developers, and supporters of the Truckee Meadows community. The trademark’s center of gravity is shifted slightly off-axis, so the natural motion of walking causes the mountains to revolve around it.

The five rounded copper studs on the cutting edge of each one of the mace’s thirty-three blade segments embody the TMCC Academic Divisions. Their placement is symbolic of the College’s dedication to preserving our scholarly disciplines, continuously on the cusp of innovative education, technology, and effective teaching methods.

Every one of the blade segments is engraved with a mirrored visual representation of the first six digits of the Fibonacci Sequence. The series of numbers is widely regarded as personifying divine beauty. It’s pictured to reflect both the grace we hold inside and the allure of nature. The shaft features two lizard reliefs signifying the high-desert environment of Truckee Meadows.

Finally, the mace is capped with the College’s seal. They were fashioned from the medallions presented to faculty upon appointment of tenure, and are a direct tribute to TMCC’s esteemed past, current, and future personnel.

If you’d like to glimpse the mace firsthand with a more detailed description narrated by Oswald, check out this latest video.

Maces have been wielded ceremoniously in higher education since 14th century Europe. Many colleges or universities have a unique scepter, curated with independent intricacies and infused with the essence of the culture of that institution. The archives of TMCC will be minted in the mace's glimmer on stage, magnifying how much we can still accomplish!

“The common threads that spoke loudest to me, as I began to design, were that of authority, self-governance, dignity, and protection of the institution, academic freedom, faculty, staff, administrators, and students. These powerful ideas led me to a vision strong and bold. Though these concepts heavily influenced the shape it would take, I believe that the TMCC community should collectively decide how and what the mace symbolizes to us as an institution,” said Oswald.

One of the best aspects of art is that it is open to interpretation. What this mace means to one person or many is a gift, but what’s important is that we remain unified in the values that inspired its heartfelt creation. Much like the Statue of Liberty and her firm grip on the torch of enlightenment, TMCC’s ceremonial mace will remain stoic and encourage students seeking their educational opportunities to shine on that transformative stage.

For more information about Manufacturing Technologies, please visit our website.